GSW Legislative Goals 2016 – 2017
Our primary focus is to improve and protect existing survivor benefits and to eliminate benefit inequities. The Government Relations Committee proposes the following legislative priorities for the coming year.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Increase: The flat rate DIC has not been increased since 1993.Compared to other Federal survivor programs, DIC lags behind almost 12%. The current DIC flat rate is 43% of the compensation of a fully disabled single veteran. Other Federal survivor programs provide a survivor annuity of 50-55% of retirement pay to the surviving spouse. We propose a 12% increase once or a sunset provision of 3% each for 10 years for DIC to become equitable with other Federal survivor programs. We are working on having a primary sponsor for a bill in the House and Senate.
Survivor Benefit Plan/DIC Offset (SBP/DIC Offset) We propose continued work on passage of the concurrent receipt of DIC and SBP. We have bills in the current Congress (HR 846 and S 339) to amend Title 10, United States Code, to repeal the requirement of the SBP/DIC offset which is a dollar for dollar offset.
Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA): SSIA is scheduled to terminate May 31, 2018 which cause a deficit of $310 per month to thesurviving families affected by the SBP/DIC offset. GSW is looking for a sponsor for a bill to further extension on SSIA unless SBP/DIC is repealed.
Change in the Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. Federal Charter: US Code: Title 36>Subtitle II> Part B> Section 80507, Restrictions: (b) Political Activities. The corporation, or a director or officer as such may not contribute in any political activity or in any manner attempt to influence legislation. GSW wishes to eliminate the last few words of Section 80507 (b) “in any manner attempt to influence legislation”.
The Yellow Ribbon Program is unavailable to surviving spouse and children. There is no current bill to support the issue of eligibility of surviving spouses and children for this program.
Networking: We are fortunate to continue working with The Military Coalition (TMC) and Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) as well as representatives of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Congressional representatives, their staff and the committee staff continue to be important in our efforts. These relationships enable us to better represent Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. in efforts to serve our membership effectively.